Home South African Taxpayers fork out R15m in security for unused state-owned properties

Taxpayers fork out R15m in security for unused state-owned properties

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Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille revealed that there were 3,000 unused state-owned properties countrywide.

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille.

CAPE TOWN – The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is spending up to R15 million in costs to provide security services to more than 3,000 unused state-owned properties across the country.

This was revealed by Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille when she was responding to parliamentary questions from DA MP Samantha Graham.

Graham had written to De Lille wanting to know the private security costs for each of the properties in her department, which included vacant properties.

She also enquired about the length of time that each property had been standing vacant, the date when each vacant property would be occupied as well as the total costs incurred to date.

In her reply, De Lille said there were a total of 3,742 vacant properties owned by her department.

“The properties have been vacant for between two and 10 years. The properties are currently not being used,” De Lille said.

“The total costs incurred for security is R15,266,382.16,” De Lille added.

The minister also said the department was conducting feasibility studies to determine the best use for each property.

“It should be noted that some of the properties will be made available to the market for rental to create jobs and generate revenue for the state,” she said.

De Lille had indicated that the department would let out unused state-owned immovable assets to interested investors and communities.

Three months ago, De Lille said continuous safe guarding of land and active engagements with the courts to obtain eviction orders was another measure which her department was using to reclaim illegally occupied properties.

She also revealed that 259 government hospital buildings, warehouses and residential buildings were white elephants in all nine provinces.

Responding to IFP MP Sanele Zondo, De Lille said the unused properties were handed back to her department by various user-departments, as they were no longer required.

She said most of the properties were not in a habitable state.

“The department intends to re-allocate the unused properties to other socio-economic objectives of the government such as gender-based violence and femicide shelters, and rental to interested tenants/investors for revenue generation,” De Lille said.

A breakdown of the unused state-owned buildings showed that Limpopo had 63, the Eastern Cape 46, Western Cape 40, and Gauteng 32.

There were 17 unused properties each in KwaZulu-Natal and North West, 16 in the Northern Cape and 14 each in Mpumalanga and the Free State.

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